Welcome back to ESRA Pennant Racquetball !

I know that some of you have been back on court since before Christmas and are itching to get started. Others, like me, have only recently resumed hitting, or are yet to do so.
No doubt there will be some tired and sore bodies at the end of Round 1.

Our 2021 Autumn Pennant Season will commence the week beginning Monday 22 February.
The competition will include 4 Grades.
Grades 1 and 3 are fixtured as 8 Team grades and will play 14 Rounds. Grade 1 has 7 Teams and a Bye.
Grades 2 and 4 are fixtured as 6 Team grades and will play 15 Rounds. Grade 2 has 5 Teams and a Bye.
Play will be suspended for Easter during the week of Monday 5 April.

Dates and Venues for Finals will be announced shortly.

The Doubles Only Grade which commenced last year will also return. This Grade is not yet fixtured. It will be played at Mountain District on Wednesday evenings commencing Wednesday 24 February. Once again John Souness is the coordinator.

Please accept our apologies for the delay in getting details of the season to you. It has taken longer than usual for some players to commit to play, and once Teams & Grades were settled our fixture had to be constructed in conjunction with the other Squash competitions conducted in and around Melbourne. I would like to express our sincere thanks to Brendan Perry for the work he has done to get all competitions up and running

As expected, we have lost some players from Autumn 2020. Some of those players will likely return for Spring Pennant. Some may not return to Pennant. There is no right or wrong decision this year. We are in totally uncharted waters. Please respect the decisions that others make.

I am delighted to announce that 3 new Venues have entered Teams this season. Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club has entered teams in Grades 1, 2 & 3.
The Lilydale Club has entered teams in Grades 2 & 4
Thank you Mike Wilkinson, S&R Convenor Kooyong, and Jason McGrath, President Lilydale for your energy and assistance !!
Mark Purton has relocated his Grade 4 team to Cranbourne Aikido & Fitness Centre.

We also welcome back one of our Venues.
We will have a Grade 1 Team playing out of Westerfolds Templestowe.
Westerfolds is also establishing an in-house Racquetball group. Thank you Rex Hedrick !!

We did lose Westerfolds Bayswater (formerly Knox) which closed during 2020. The site is currently being redeveloped. I wish to express my sincere thanks to Olivia Coles who reopened the Centre. We had a couple of good years and eagerly await to hear Olivia’s plans post Bayswater.

With new Venues and new players we have graded teams “to the best of our ability”. Hopefully we got the gradings right. If we didn’t in all cases we ask for your patience.
Given the year that 2020 turned out to be I ask that we all take a deep breath … be grateful that we are able to play … be mindful that we are not yet Covid free …. be respectful of your opponents and of your teammates. Consider this season as a season of renewal. If you have any issues or suggestions, please contact me. Be nice to each other !!

Ian Chalmers – ESRA President

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